01 April 2012

The Apis Bull

Greetings, my fellow A-Zers! I can't wait to meet you in droves. I'm a fiction writer. This blog is mostly made up of personal revelations, thoughts on craft, and various other things related to writing and reading and anything that helps me meet my writing goals. (Which are lofty. My performance is fair to middling.) This April, I'm posting juicy tidbits of researchy goodness for your interest and edification. I intend to use these as story prompts for the terrifying writing challenge Story a Day in May. You may use them however you wish.


Source

According to the British Museum, the Apis Bull was unusual in ancient Egypt, in that it wasn't a type of sacred animal, like the ibis or the cat, but rather an animal incarnation of a god. According to researcher Andrew Gough, the Apis Bull was similar to the Dalai Lama: there was only one at a time, and when the Bull died, his priests undertook a search for his new incarnation.

The Apis Bull was identifiable because of his particular markings. Herodotus wrote in his Histories of the bull:
The Apis is the calf of a cow which is never afterwards able to have another. The Egyptian belief is that a flash of light descends upon the cow from heaven, and this causes her to conceive Apis. The Apis-calf has distinctive marks: it is black, with a white square on its forehead, the image of an eagle on its back, the hair on its tail double, and a scarab under its tongue.
While Greek writers associated the Bull with the god Osiris, modern research argues that during his life, the Bull was the incarnation of Ptah, the creator. The Bull was venerated and well cared for during his lifetime. Priests watched it carefully, since its every movement was a potential message from the god. During the Festival of the Apis Bull, the Bull's keepers paraded him through the streets. If a child smelled his breath, he or she would receive the gift of fortelling the future.

Andrew Gough links the Bull's white blaze to the blazing star Aldebaran in the forehead of the constellation Taurus. The centre of the forehead is the location of the seventh chakra or "third eye," associated with intuition and spiritual insight.

Source

39 comments:

Monti said...

Hi,

Visiting from A to Z. Interesting post about the Apis Bull. I had not heard of it before.

Good luck,
Monti
Mary Montague Sikes

Bluestocking said...

I had heard of this but never realized the significance of it. Thanks for the lesson!

Hektor Karl said...

Very cool. Love these types of posts.

Mark K said...

Sounds like a load of bull to me... ok, I apologise, I just couldn't help myself ;)

Brave (or crazy) children, smelling a bull's breath. I know of some folks I wouldn't want to get too close to with the way their breath smells, let alone a ton of muscle, sinew and horn!

Happy A-Z :)

Mark K said...

Damn! I ha written out a long comment for you and this bloody 'Error 503' wiped it out... grrrr! Lately (since the update on blogger) it's all I seem to get. Such a pain in the posterior.

Interesting and informative post, m'lady :)

Happy A-Z

Sue Ann Bowling said...

Verbal evidence of a white marking gene being present early--though I think wall paintings show that.

Elizabeth Twist said...

I tend to wonder what the bull thought was going on. I mean, did he just wish he could go hang out with the cows in the pasture? Did they give him some time with the ladies? Or was he always hanging out with humans who observed his every gesture?

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks, Hektor. I liked your Argos post as well.

Elizabeth Twist said...

It's there, Mark! I've been getting that too...I'm wondering if we A-Zers aren't freaking Blogger out with all our activity today.

Are you A-Zing? I'll be dropping by shortly to find out.

Dusty said...

Greetings! I found your blog via the A to Z Challenge! Very interesting post! Good luck this April and enjoy!

Dusty
droschefamily.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hi Sue Ann. I would love to know more about the white marking gene...I'm sure Mr. Google will tell me.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hi Dusty. Can't wait to read your entries.

Mark K said...

Darling, darling, darling... of course I'm A to Z'ing it, sweetie pie! Although I do notice a trend developing already; folks with normal sounding names, e.g. Elizabeth Twist, are getting far more viewers joining than arsehole names like mine, e.g. The DM's Screen. Life is such a be-atch at times.

Go on, you chickens! Take a chance and visit me! I won't bite--I've had my rabies booster!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Only in the world of the interwebs is "Twist" a normal surname.

I'm sure many of my readers will be charmed by your sweet demeanour and charming invitation.

(p.s. chickens...A-Z @ Mark has a lovely post up today.)

T.D. McFrost said...

Hi Elizabeth. I love Egyptian mythology and I've never heard the history behind this bull. It really got my creative jucies flowing and I thank you for that. :D

Happy April Fools!

Amanda Heitler said...

Excellent. Apis bulls and someone who describes themself as a plague enthusiast.

Also taking part in A-Z madness, which is how I've stumbled on you and become a follower.

Amanda
http://dramadiceanddamsons.blogspot.co.uk/

Evan Williamson said...

Wonderful post, very informative. I especially liked the part where bulls breathe on children and they become X-men. I'm all for animal based superpowers.
www.bannedlibrary.com

The Golden Eagle said...

Fascinating post! I've seen the Apis Bull before, but never knew the backstory.


The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Sharon Tyler said...

I love learning new bits of information about history and myth! Got me even more curious about bulls in mythology, especially since one YA series I am reading leans heavily on Egyptian mythology, but the bull as it is used there is completely different. I must do more research...

MAJK said...

I am certainly going to enjoy your postings. I'm rather a big fan of historical myth, & legend. Excellent and interesting post.

Looking forward to your post for the letter B

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks, MAJK!

Elizabeth Twist said...

I guess the Apis Bull was a special case. There were other uses of bulls as far as I understand it.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Me too.

Elizabeth Twist said...

There will be one or two posts about actual diseases, Amanda. If you're into plagues, maybe plan to return for "V".

Elizabeth Twist said...

Nice to see you here, T.D. I just recently learned about the Apis Bull and thought I would share.

Joyce Lansky said...

Sounds like a lot of bull to me, but please don't tell the Egyptians. Please. Please, don't tell. Thanks for stopping by my A post.

Catch My Words
http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2012/04/atoz-abducted-by-aliens.html

Emily said...

How very interesting! I look forward to your other posts!

SweetMarie83 said...

Very interesting! My brain is full of random facts, and I love learning new things, so I know I'm going to enjoy your posts!

Onivana said...

It's pretty amazing how people in ancient times interpreted life. Thanks for the overview :)

Emily Moir said...

This is really interesting. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your posts for AtoZ.

Sarah Pearson said...

I feel a bit sorry for the chosen one!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hi Joyce. Your post is wet-your-pants hilarious. Looking forward to more.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks, Emily!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Glad to hear it! I'll try to wedge a few more random facts in there for you.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks for stopping by, Oniea!

Elizabeth Twist said...

It's going to be an interesting month all 'round, I think. Great stuff going on at so many blogs.

Pearson Report said...

Thank you for this interesting post - I learned a lot.

Jenny @ Pearson Report
Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

I hope the future the child received wasn't: "you are about to die soon by a bull kick!"

What a great kickoff on A to Z!

Greetings from the A to Z trail,
Sylvia @ Playful Creative

Traci Kenworth said...

Interesting topic. Good luck on the A-Z tour.

ShareThis